Righthander Nick Blackburn is spending spring training working on his conditioning and testing the range of motion in his surgically repaired wrist.

He is several weeks away from a return to the mound, and even longer from getting into a game. Spring training, for Blackburn, is a test of patience.

“It is already weird, seeing those guys over there,” Blackburn said earlier this week, sitting in front of his stall in the minor league facility, “and seeing the highlights from games. At the same time, it’s making me more excited about being healthy and getting back out there.”

He looks and sounds relieved. He has two reasons to feel that way.

In January, Blackburn had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right wrist, and he’s hopeful it will put an end to the arm problems that have led to four surgeries since the end of the 2010 season.

The other reason he’s in good spirits is that his wife, Alicia, is pregnant with twins and is in the clear after battling complications.

It wasn’t an easy offseason for the family. Blackburn made several trips to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester to visit Dr. Richard Berger, the specialist who discovered the problem in his wrist and developed the surgery. Blackburn is the second major league player to have the surgery. The other is Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth, who has said the surgery saved his career in 2006.

Blackburn also made several trips to Houston with his wife to visit her specialist, after she was diagnosed with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, a condition in which one twin doesn’t develop as well as the other because of an unbalanced blood supply. She underwent surgery to correct the problem on Feb. 14.